#819 The old Take a Penny, Leave a Penny bowl

take-that-pennyNobody likes pennies.

Sure, maybe in the 1800s they scored you a handful of gumballs or the evening edition of your local Times-Express, but these days they’re barely worth 1% of a Snickers bar. Go on, lick the edge of a Snickers next time and scrape off a few molecules of chocolate with your tongue. That, that right there. That’s a penny.

Of course, having said that, there is one moment where the value of a penny shoots sky-high, and that’s when the beef jerky and Red Bull at the gas station rings up to $5.01. Yeah, if you’re cringing right now, it’s because you know that’s a terrible price leading to a few Checkout Possibilities:

1. By The Rules. One option is just to roll with it. Break that ten and get ready for a mittful of change back, including the dreaded 4-Penny Punchout. Now your pocket is bursting and your hand smells like dirty copper, but what are you going to do? You played by the rules and you lost.

2. The Cashier Cheat. You can never predict when this will happen. Sometimes you’re expecting to play by the rules but the cashier will just round around for you. When Bill-Counting Betty don’t care about the till balance, she just drops you a nickel and a wink.

3. The Bowl. Finally, we come to the main attraction. Since you don’t want ninety-nine cents jingle-jangling around your pocket, you eye the Take a Penny, Leave a Penny bowl and see what it’s offering. You know you’ve made your deposits over the years, so you don’t feel guilty about a little withdrawal now.

Yes, the Take a Penny, Leave a Penny bowl brings out the best in us. Just remember: take a penny, leave a penny?

Take a favor. Leave a legacy.

AWESOME!

Victory

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#820 Making it out of the bathroom stall at work before anyone realizes you made it smell that way

bathroomStinking up the can at work is terrible.

Let’s face it: there are no fans to turn on, windows to open, spray cans to spray, or matches to light. No, you’re on your own in this non-anon, dimly lit den of suit-and-tie hellos and on-the-job head nods. Whatever dark cloud you’re releasing in there hangs heavy as you bow your head in front of the mirror and scrub your dirty, dirty hands. Everyone knows what just went down and no one is happy about it.

But that’s why it’s so great when you can scram real quick and get out when the bathroom’s empty and the getting out’s good. Three cheers for the anonymous call of nature.

AWESOME!

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#822 When there’s still lots of time left in the parking meter when you pull up

Like a tiny present

Say some kind and generous soul left seven unused minutes on the parking meter and left you with three big choices.

First of all, you could go with the No Dollar Dash. This is where you do some quick mental math and figure you can run all your errands before the time expires. If you can rent a movie, grab a slice of pizza, and pick up the dry cleaning that quick, then go man, just go.

Grab it and run

Then again, maybe you’re not a No Dollar Dash kind of guy. Perhaps you prefer the Tight Quarter Squeeze because you’re a bit cheap and afraid of getting a ticket. So you plug a warm quarter in there because you’re sure seventeen minutes will be good enough. Hey, you’re still thankful for the seven free minutes, but figure it’s worth buying yourself a brisk walk in place of a run.

Buying time

Lastly, you could just go Slot Machine. These folks just don’t trust themselves. The parking ticket must be avoided at all costs, even if it means dumping an extra couple dollars in the meter. They buy themselves a big, warm security blanket in case they get held up somewhere.

And now, even though most of us would like to think of ourselves as laid back No Dollar Dash kind of folks, let’s be honest. We love the Slot Machines, because they’re the ones who leave us with seven minutes left the next time. And if it wasn’t for the Tight Quarter Squeezers and their perfect parking planning, getting seven minutes of free time would just become no big deal.

So by holding hands and all joining together, we all make that world go right on round.

AWESOME!

saving-time

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#823 When you finally figure out what was making that horrible smell and get rid of it

What a weird cover

Okay, a few years back my eleventh grade Chemistry class began with Ms. Serevetas handing out textbooks. A small woman wearing big glasses and a big labcoat, she just introduced herself and then began calling us up, one by one, to the front of the room.

It was the first day so nobody had the guts to just start talking or playing games in the back. Honestly, we just sat in mind-numbing silence while each person shuffled up, signed their name, collected their ratty old book, and shuffled back down.

It was a slow and painful ordeal until something really funny happened: one guy’s book stunk.

Honestly, it just really stunk. It was terrible. A steamy hot funk filled the room and people started giggling. Some laughed, some pointed, but Stinky-Book Guy stared straight ahead, pretending nothing was happening.

Unfortunately for him, the buzz and chatter quickly built to a point where Ms. Serevetas was forced to take action. She did so by looking up at Stinky suspiciously, and then scrunching her eyebrows with a pained grimace until he was finally forced to began fanning through the pages while everybody stared on in anticipation.

And remember: we were bored out of our minds here so this Mystery of the Funky Textbook captivated us like nothing else. The room got quiet and tense and everyone craned their necks and stared at the stink, the book, and the guy, with tingly anticipation.

Stinky-Book Guy fanned through the pages slowly at first, and then quicker, and then quicker, until a few pages slapped real fast and told us all that the mystery stench had been found.

So we watched with teeth clenched as he peeled back the page to reveal an old … rotting … piece of salami.

Don't disrespect Boyle with cured meats

Yeah, apparently someone had the good idea to drop a thin slice of cured meat between two pages on Boyle’s Law for a nice, long sit in a musty storage closet all summer. Now that once beautifully speckled slice of spice was gray and slimy and smelled like a fish market the Tuesday after a long weekend.

Anyway, at this point there was only one thing to do and Stinky-Book Guy did it: he bit his lip, nodded forcefully, and then peeled that salami off, walked over to the garbage can, and dropped it right on in.

And so — whether it’s the old can of salmon in your kitchen garbage pail, the toilet that didn’t get flushed before a long vacation, or the pool of dirty water collecting under the carpet in your basement, how does it feel to find that stinky treasure and just ditch real fast?

AWESOME!

Eat it don't keep it

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#825 Overly complicated baby, playoffs, or Oscar pools

Twenty two bucks of fun

Six or seven years ago my friend Alec ran an Oscar Pool.

You just filled in a little piece of scrap paper, paid Alec five bucks, and then whoever got the most picks right took home the big $25 pot. Then maybe they celebrated by buying a whole pizza or pre-paying the next five pools or something.

Anyway, when Alec moved away, I started up my own Oscar Pool to fill the void. First it was on paper, then in Microsoft Excel, and then last year my friend Chad took the whole thing online with live tracking during the actual Oscars.

But yeah, honestly, isn’t it all about that one guy at the office or girl in the classroom who takes the pool way too seriously? You know who they are because they’re drawing out March Madness brackets with odds written in and researching Survivor cast members on the Internet so everyone can guess who’s gonna get the raft next. Sometimes they even start pools about when the pregnant lady is gonna give birth or when the guy who sleeps in the bathroom stall will get fired.

Either way, that Pool Guy or Pool Girl is putting in their blood, skin, and sweat so we can all enjoy some friendly gambling. They’re programming Excel macros, photocopying entry forms, and cornering you in the elevator for your ten bucks because they love you lots.

So if you’re lucky enough to have a Pool Guy or Pool Girl in your life, today’s the day to stand up and throw them a sturdy smile, firm handshake, and a quiet, respectful nod.

AWESOME!

a-slightly-rarer-type-of-office-poolPhotos from: here and here

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#826 When you didn’t play the lottery and your numbers didn’t come up

Don't play, don't lose

I don’t play the lottery very often, but when I do I’m pretty sure I’m going to win. I take pains to ensure all my family members’ birthdays are evenly covered as I carefully color in all the bubbles and then hand my sheet to the convenience store cashier.

Kicking cigarette butts and sucking on a popsicle while walking home, my mind wanders off and begins wrestling with difficult questions that I assume plague the rich daily. Pool or tennis court? Private jet or yacht? Tall, snooty butler with a thin mustache or fat, clumsy butler with a heart of gold?

And I think about whether I’d donate massive chunks of my riches to people who’ve done small, simple things for me when I was down on my luck. You know, a couple million dollar tip for the coffee shop waitress one day, a new mansion for the guy who slices my cold cuts nice and thin the next. I toy with the idea of stashing my cash in a vault and swimming in it like Scrooge McDuck, traveling around the world by rickshaw, or possibly just buying the Internet.

My mind entertains these wild dreams because being a dreamer is great fun. The thoughts are free, so I enjoy them on my way home, squeezing the ticket in my pocket, and then posting it on the fridge so I don’t forget the big day.

Yes, this little Jackpot Fantasy continues until the numbers are announced. And I don’t win. No, I don’t even have one number right. I’m not even close. I shouldn’t have played. I’m an idiot who just threw three bucks away for no reason.

But I guess that’s why it’s great when I don’t play, and I check my numbers, and sure enough they didn’t come up. Now who’s laughing? Me, the three bucks richer guy.

AWESOME!

If I won the lottery, I'd get massive plastic surgery to look like a duck

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#828 Remembering what other movie that guy is from

Danny Trejo

Smack dab in the middle of the movie’s big scene, it always happens.

Clancy Brown

Everything gets tense for the big courtroom finale or championship football game, and then all of a sudden the defense attorney or opposing coach turns out to be that guy from some other movie and you just can’t stop thinking about where he’s from.

Wait, was he the prison guard in Shawshank? Or the lawyer from Miracle on 34th Street? Or, no, no, no, I got it. He’s the knife guy in From Dusk Till Dawn.

AWESOME!

JT Walsh

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